New Google Street View feature lets you go back in time
Published Wednesday, April 23, 2014 9:00AM EDT
A new feature launching Wednesday will let Internet users turn back time online to see old imagery when using Google Street View.
While virtually strolling city streets, web users can toggle a special clock icon to see historical 360-degree Street View imagery from previous capture sessions.
“There's no flux capacitor here, but basically this feature allows you to go back to earlier Street View imagery that we captured at that location,” says Google Canada spokesperson Aaron Brindle.
In Canada, users will be able to go back to 2007 when Google first captured Street View imagery. There’ll be more archived imagery for major cities in Canada compared to rural communities.
For example, Toronto imagery was captured in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013, Brindle says, while other places in Canada may only have two Street View versions saved.
One of the most telling examples of a changing cityscape in Street View is the intense development of condominiums along Toronto’s waterfront.
“It's really interesting to go back and see it, over a relatively small period of time, but it really does capture significant changes,” Brindle says.
Users can also see the build-up to the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
Elsewhere, users can glance at changing trends in consumer electronics and fashion by going back in time with Street View in New York City’s Time Square.
Google says it is launching the feature as part of an ongoing effort to make a “digital mirror” of the world that’s available online.
“It's a true record of the world at a moment in time,” Brindle says.